On May 25th Ronaldo will have completed 16 years as a pro.
When he was 16 years old, coming from Sao Cristóvão, the young player
signed a contract with Cruzeiro, where he played until June of 1994.
At 17 years of age he was called to join the
national team for the World Cup held in the USA, where Brazil conquered
the world title for the third time. Even though he was among the
reserves at the World Cup, the striker was greatly appreciated due to
the strong campaign he did in favor of the club from Minas Gerais.
Since his premiere with the star studded jersey on March 25th, against
the Caldense, the forward became an icon for the fans. In this match,
due to a very tight schedule at the time, coach Pinheiro opted to put
together a mixed squad, thus he was called. Cruzeiro won 1-0 through a
goal scored by Ramon Menezes, who today plays at the Vitoria-BA.
But Ronaldo´s real opportunity to be among pros
came in 1994, when the blue squad went to Portugal. At the time he was
competing for the striker position with Toto – since Cleison had been
sold to Belenenses of Portugal – and this gave Ronaldo the chance to be
among the professionals.
Later on, while facing Penarol from Uruguay, at the Antas stadium in
Oporto, the player provided a fantastic show and was highly praised and
this is what made him officially part of the first squad.
His skills, speed and sudden take offs, are among
the qualities that later made him receive the nick name Fenômeno. While
in Cruzeiro he scored 56 goals in 58 matches.